How to sleep better without following strict sleep hygiene rules

How to sleep better without following strict sleep hygiene rules

Falling asleep can be tricky and time consuming.

We all know that one person who falls asleep five seconds after their head hits the pillow, but for most of us, it’s not that easy – and night times can be challenging.

We start to overthink, become anxious and can spend hours tossing and turning in bed before finally giving up and reaching for our phones.

For years experts have been pushing something known as sleep hygiene, which encourages us to have a bedroom environment and a nightly routine that promotes consistent and uninterrupted sleep.

It follows a complicated set of rules that include evening schedules, limited naps, a consistent night routine, time-off electronics, blocking out noise and light, and restricting in bed activities to only sleep and sex.

This is not possible for everyone; some disabled people may have to work from their beds, other people won’t have the financial means to buy all the items needed to create an ideal bedroom environment, and others simply won’t have time to fit these set routines in with their daily life.

Getting to sleep is tricky at the best of times and strict and extensive rules aren’t always going to be practical to follow, so how can we fall asleep faster without them?

How long should it take to fall asleep? 

Ideally you should be falling asleep about 10-20 minutes after getting into bed,’ clinical psychologist and Chief Science Officer at dayzz, Dr. Mairav Cohen-Zion tells Metro.co.uk.

Anything below that may be a sign that you aren’t getting sufficient sleep and your body might be feeling exceedingly tired due to poor quality sleep,’ 

If it takes more than 30 minutes to fall asleep (at least 2-3 times per week), Mairav says that you might be struggling with a sleep difficulty.

‘If it is possible for you then try to avoid spending too much time awake in bed,’ Mairav recommends.

‘But If you feel that you may be dealing with ongoing sleep onset difficulties, it could be helpful to discuss this with your doctor or a sleep expert.’

When to go to sleep

While Mairav does think sleep hygiene is important, she recognises that it isn’t practical for everyone.

‘Listen to your body signals. They will let you know when you are ready for sleep,’ she explains. ‘

For some people that may be as simple as yawning, for others perhaps they feel it in their head or their eyes. 

‘If you are not feeling sleepy enough to fall asleep, try waiting a bit for your “sleep gate,” which will make falling asleep much easier and faster. It’s necessary to become familiar with your personal signals and to listen to your body. When it’s letting you know you are tired, get to bed.’

Routines

Mairav suggests that we should try to go to sleep at a similar time each night. 

‘If you stick to a regular sleep schedule you will more easily notice your body signals and they will also be more likely to appear around the same time every night, which will make them easier to identify as well,’ Mairav says.

Sleep tips

According to the Sleep Foundation, trying to get into a comfortable position when going to sleep and taking some deep breaths can help to relax our bodies and calm us down.

They also suggest playing peaceful music in the background or a guided meditation, this can also help if you are sleeping in a noisy environment. 

Although this is usually something sleep experts will tell you to avoid – I would personally recommend playing a familiar comfort TV show or movie in the background to fall asleep to. I find it helps to distract me from my thoughts and it also causes my eyes to feel heavy and tired.

Ultimately, having difficulty falling asleep may be down to a bigger problem and if you continue to have issues with your sleep or insomnia, make sure to call your GP. They may be able to to determine the cause and provide specific treatment to help.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

Source: Read Full Article